The Administration strongly supports and aggressively enforces our Nation’s anti-discrimination laws and is firmly committed to the principle of equal pay for equal work. But rather than contributing to that cause, H.R. 1338 would make enforcement of these laws more difficult and error-prone and invite a surge of litigation. Therefore, the Administration strongly opposes the “Paycheck Fairness Act.” The bill would unjustifiably amend the Equal Pay Act (EPA) to allow for, among other things, unlimited compensatory and punitive damages, even when a disparity in pay was unintentional. It also would encourage discrimination claims to be made based on factors unrelated to actual pay discrimination by allowing pay comparisons between potentially different labor markets. In addition, it would require the Department of Labor (DOL) to replace its successful approach to detecting pay discrimination with a failed methodology that was abandoned because it had a 93 percent false positive rate. Thus, if H.R. 1338 were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.
The NAM’s key Vote letter on H.R. 1338 is here. We oppose it.
UPDATE: The Heritage Foundation has just issued a new web memo on the legislation, “Paycheck Fairness Act Unfairly Burdens Employees and Employers.” Written by Heritage’s labor expert, James Sherk, the memo makes the case against this bill clearly:
In the name of protecting women from discrimination, the Act permits the government and the courts to micromanage employers, tying them up in a sea of red tape. The Act gives a windfall to trial lawyers, exposing employers to unlimited punitive damages for unintentional mistakes. Any financial benefits reaped by trial lawyers, however, will come at the expense of workers, whose wages will fall in order to cover the increased cost of legal liability insurance. The Act also obliges the government to adopt junk science by requiring the use of a highly flawed survey while declaring the best scientific practices for assessing discrimination superfluous. The PFA will hurt the very workers it is meant to help.
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